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News » FISH FRY Dolphins' great season runs into Ed Reed

FISH FRY Dolphins' great season runs into Ed Reed

FISH FRY  Dolphins' great season runs into Ed Reed
MIAMI -- Ed Reed doesn't just have a nose for the Football. He has an entire face.

Proof is the scar over his left eye. He got it as a kid when he was zeroing in on a catch and ran into a mailbox. It probably collapsed and never accepted mail again.

All of which raised the playoff question -- what's the difference between Chad Pennington and a mailbox?

A mailbox never threw four interceptions in a game.

Pennington did Sunday as we got a definitive answer to the question "Why not Miami?" Two words:

Ed Reed.

You can add words like Joe Flacco, Defense, Deja and Vu. They made anyone who picked the Dolphins look preeeety stupid. (See accompanying mug shot). Hey, how were we supposed to know the Ravens got up last Friday and thought it had just turned 2001?

"Here we come," Reed said. "Here come the Ravens."

And there go the Dolphins. Thanks for an inspiring season, guys. Hopefully the lovely parting gifts will include a beacon to put atop Reed's helmet next time.

"I certainly didn't expect it to end this way," Pennington said.

Miami tied an NFL record with only 13 turnovers in 16 games. It had five on Sunday. About the only guy in a Ravens jersey who didn't pick a loose ball was super-fan Michael Phelps.

Pennington was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year after throwing only seven interceptions in the regular season. He set himself up for next year's award by throwing four on Sunday.

"And three I felt good about," he said. Baltimore's defense has a confounding effect on quarterbacks. They think they've made a good pass, then a linebacker or defensive end will pop out of nowhere and intercept the ball.

"Unique concepts," is how Pennington described the scheme. Throw in a lot of unique athletes and let the 2001 flashbacks begin.

That's when Baltimore won the Super Bowl in Tampa using a dominant defense and an offense that simply got out of the way. If the formula worked then, it should be even better now.

Flacco is an upgrade on Trent Dilfer and showed it again Sunday, becoming the rare rookie quarterback to win a playoff game on the road. Who knew a Blue Hen from Delaware would have so much poise?

Flacco's emergence is a huge reason Baltimore has gone from 2-3 to trendy Super Bowl pick. There's also the defense, which is better than 2001's simply because Reed was still at the University of Miami then.

Now he might be the most dominant player in the NFL, which is amazing considering he is 5-11, barely weighs 200 pounds, plays safety and has done 5,942 fewer commercials than Peyton Manning.

"The kid's a freak," linebacker Terrell Suggs said.

How else do you explain 10 interceptions in the past seven games? Pennington thought he could throw it deep in the second quarter, only to have Reed make an over-the-shoulder Willie Mays' Special grab, then zigzag his way 64 yards for a touchdown.

Reed now has 12 touchdown returns in his career, which was about how many scores Miami's offense had all last season. The Fish have nothing to be ashamed of, other than making certain people look stupid.

If nothing else, they sure kept trying Sunday despite trailing 20-3. Miami might have even gotten back in the game when it drove to Baltimore's 15-yard line late in the third quarter. Then guess who appeared out of nowhere and snatched a short pass across the middle.

"That was Ed Reed being Ed Reed," Pennington said. "Up 20-3, he leaves his spot and shows up in a place you never thought he'd be."

Like Tampa in three weeks. Pity any mailboxes standing in the way.

Five turnovers, and Miami's playoff hopes go up in smoke

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 6, 2009

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